Korea clash: Stopping Yeonpyeong becoming another Sarajevo
By Jon Snow
Date: 23rd November 2010 [ 08:59 GMT ]
Source: Channel 4, Jon Snow’s Blog
No one foresaw that the assassination of an Austrian Archduke in Sarajevo in 1914 would trigger the First World War in which more than five million souls died.
Many have foreseen North Korea as a potential flash point, if not for World War Three, certainly for regional conflict involving Superpowers.
A week that began with the North Koreans revealing their ‘highly sophisticated’ nuclear centrifuges to a shocked American scientist, moves on to a full scale North Korean artillery barrage aimed at a South Korean island.
Reportedly 200 shells at least appear to have hit the island, burning buildings and causing significant damage (70 homes – according to one report) one military death, at least, and military and possibly civilian injuries. South Korean F16 Fighter jets have been scrambled.
Mention the mass identikit turned out North Korean military dictatorship and you attract a yawn from most. A regime that lives in the past with a little equipment from the future, shows no sign of change in the most rapidly changing world history has ever known.
But North Korea is not alone. She is to a very large extent dependent upon, and protected by her vast neighbour China. South Korea is not alone either, she is strongly defended by the United States.
It seems that North Korea had earlier registered a complaint against a South Korean military exercise going on in the area. It may be that they have taken direct action against what they regarded as military targets.
Earlier this year North Korea sank a South Korean warship with the loss of 46 lives. North Korea is in the midst of a succession change – anointing the ‘Dear Leader’s’ youngest son as ‘heir’.
We are about to see the colour of China’s money. What power does she have to bring North Korea to the negotiating table?
China needs a few cards ahead of what will be a noisy and embarrassing time for the People’s Republic in the coming days.
The continued detention of this year’s Nobel Peace prize winner together with the ‘disappearance’ and detention of his closest relatives is going tip much opprobrium on China.
The world’s attention will, for the first time in some time, be loudly focused upon China’s woeful human rights record. An important moment then to assist the world and prevent Yeonpyeong from becoming Sarajevo.
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[ updated: 24th Nov ]
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